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Down to Earth: Enjoy a day out with the NGS

The National Garden Scheme is back and, as summer flowers start to peak, June’s the perfect month to admire someone else’s handiwork, writes Cambridge designer Robert Barker

For those of you who are keen gardeners, you will know that there is always something on the to-do list to keep you busy in your garden. We spend so much time frantically trying to keep on top of things that it is so easy to forget to sit back, even for a few minutes, and enjoy the very thing that you have been working so hard on.

Especially after the past twelve months that we have all been through, where we have all been desperate for distraction, it has often been difficult to see the wood for the trees. With constant plant growth all around us, and reminders in front of our very eyes that we need to keep busy, when is the time we are allowed to sit in our gardens and for once just enjoy it? Well the answer is simple: NOW.

I don’t just mean ‘now’ in a spiritual/philosophical sense, but in a literal sense because June is the month that your garden is at its peak. Garden borders are full and are ablaze in colour as flowers are blooming, but on the whole June is one of the quieter months in the garden as there shouldn’t be a drastic amount of work to be done other than weed, water and pay a bit of attention to spring-flowering plants now that their main season of display is over. So, June really is the month to soak up the joys of your garden.

No matter the condition of your garden, window box or communal space, I am sure there is something to enjoy, but if you really are determined to focus on the negative aspects of your garden and you simply can’t let go of the imperfections then I recommend going to look at someone else’s.

The National Garden Scheme helps people up and down the country open up their gardens to the public in order to raise money for charity and even though restrictions aren’t fully lifted, most NGS gardens are now available to book for visits.

This wonderful scheme has been going since 1927 and over the last 90 years has raised more than £50 million for good causes. Since being aware of the NGS, my family and I have visited many gardens, from small terrace-garden plots to extremely large country estates, and not only have we enjoyed every visit, we have also taken some ideas away with us.

This month, dozens of gardens across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk will open their gates through the NGS. Head to ngs.org.uk, make a diary date, pay a visit and soak up some inspiration.

See robertbarkerdesign.com for more.

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